Aaron Rodgers
Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton went off about the 2022 Broncos in a bombshell interview with USA Today last week. The new Broncos coach made scathing comments regarding Denver’s season and the handling of quarterback Russell Wilson, who had a career-worst year in his first with the team. Payton went as far as to say there are “20 dirty hands” on Wilson’s 2022 implosion, adding the coaching job “might have been one of the worst” in NFL history.

Well, that coaching job was led by Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired after 15 games as Broncos head coach and is now coordinating a Jets offense led by Aaron Rodgers.

It’s an eye-popping interview from Payton for sure. And Rodgers isn’t holding back in his response.

Per the quarterback’s Sunday training camp interview on NFL+:

“I love Nathaniel Hackett, and those comments were very surprising,” Rodgers said. “For a coach to do that to another coach…[Hackett] is arguably my favorite coach I’ve ever had in the NFL. Just his approach to it, how he makes it fun, how he cares about the guys, just how he goes about his business with respect, leadership, honesty, and integrity. And it made me feel bad that someone who’s accomplished a lot in the league is that insecure that they have to take another man down to set themselves up for some sort of easy fall if it doesn’t go well for that team this year?

“I thought it was way out of line and inappropriate, and I think he needs to keep my coaches’ names out of his mouth.”

It’s an incredible response because, after all, it was a very random and unnecessary shot at Hackett and the 2022 Broncos, a team that included various players and executives still present in that Denver building. And for what? Extra motivation heading into training camp? As if that Broncos team needs any more of a wake-up call after last year’s disastrous campaign?

Payton is a legend in the coaching industry; a surefire future Hall of Famer (if the committee decides to overlook the bounty scandal). But these Hackett comments — and his lame “I had my FOX hat on and not my coaching hat” apology — are low moments for him. And this response from another future Hall of Famer in Rodgers proves that.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.